Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, USA.
All subcortical arrangements are primarily nuclear in type. The cortex has been the first part of the brain to evolve a radial and laminar arrangement of cells. The resultant modular arrangement is based on the cell minicolumn: a self-contained ecosystem of connectivity linking afferent, efferent, and inerneuronal connections. Recently, the cell minicolumn has been found to be abnormal in patients with autism. This article relates different aspects of the cell minicolumn and larger-scale neuronal assemblies to potential research techniques and their application to clinical practice.